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  • feedwordpress 21:36:56 on 2022/08/01 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: July 2022 


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    For six years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    When I read books related to an area I’m researching for a writing project, I carefully read and take notes on the parts that interest me, and skim the parts that don’t. So I may list a book that I’ve partly read and partly skimmed. For me, that still “counts.”

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I track books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read last month, the full list is here.

    Lately, I've been listening to a lot of episodes of Backlisted, a books podcast that I love, and many of the suggestions this month were inspired by the hosts' conversations.

    July 2022 Reading:

    Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson (Amazon, Bookshop)—a thought-provoking memoir with an unusual structure.

    Beyond the Vicarage by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—More Streatfeild! The third volume in her three-volume third-person memoir.

    Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, edited by Alice Wong (Amazon, Bookshop)—A collection of excellent essays from different authors about their experiences of living with disabilities.

    A World for Me and You by Uju Asika (Book Depository)—A lovely picture book about appreciating the beauty and joy of living in a diverse world. (If you want to read my interview with Uju Asika, it's here.)

    Say the Right Thing: How to Talk about Identity, Diversity, and Justice by Kenji Yoshino and David Glasgow (Amazon)—A very practical, thoughtful consideration of how to have conversations with greater compassion and understanding (in galley).

    Drive Your Plow: Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel by Olga Tokarczuk (Amazon, Bookshop)—Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature—A fascinating, surprising novel.

    The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E. L. Konigsburg (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love the work of E. L. Konigsburg, and when I did an event with the people making a musical of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Amazon, Bookshop), I met Konigsburg's three children; when her son said this novel was his favorite, I realized that somehow I'd never read it.

    This is Not a Novel and Other Novels by David Markson (Amazon, Bookshop)—experimental, interesting, not like anything I've ever read before. I want to read more of his work.

    Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (Amazon, Bookshop)—mystery, magic, competition, champions, hidden identities, and a delightful hotel...so many elements I find irresistible.

    Good Company: A Novel by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeny (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times Bestseller, A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick—I really enjoyed The Nest so wanted to read this excellent novel about marriage, family, love, theater, and what matters over time.

    Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (Amazon, Bookshop)—a classic work of fantasy, with kingdoms, powers, conflict, strong characters, and a well-realized world

    Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy (Amazon, Bookshop)—a terrific old-fashioned novel, and I mean that as high praise.

    The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series) by Nora Ephron (Amazon)—I'm reading through a lot of these short "Last Interview" collections; they're wonderful.

    The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series) by Toni Morrison (Amazon)—ditto.

    The Children’s Bach by Helen Garner (Amazon, Bookshop)—a short, intense novel about the collision of characters.

    Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner (Amazon, Bookshop)—More Helen Garner—a terrific collection of her non-fiction.

    Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life by Delia Ephron (Amazon, Bookshop)—A "Best Memoir of 2022" by Marie Claire, A "Best Memoir of April" by Vanity Fair—I love the writing of Delia Ephron (also Nora Ephron, see above), and this is a wonderful memoir of losing her husband, finding new love, and dealing with a health crisis.

    I Wrote This Book Because I Love You by Tim Kreider (Amazon, Bookshop)—A People Top 10 Book of 2018—terrific essays; I just bought another collection by Tim Kreider.

    A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, 1) by Becky Chambers (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love the work of Becky Chambers! Plus I love a pantheon of gods.

    The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe (Amazon, Bookshop)—A magical world set in Appalachia. It reminded me a bit of the work of Nina Kiriki Hoffman, which I love.

    The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings by Geoff Dyer (Amazon, Bookshop)—A meditation on endings in Geoff Dyer's inimitable voice.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:00:35 on 2022/06/30 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: June 2022 


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    For four years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    When I read books related to an area I’m researching for a writing project, I carefully read and take notes on the parts that interest me, and skim the parts that don’t. So I may list a book that I’ve partly read and partly skimmed. For me, that still “counts.”

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I track books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read last month, the full list is here.

    June 2022 Reading:

    Pure by Andrew Miller (Amazon, Bookshop)—A terrific novel that captures an interesting moment in history—the moving of the contents of the Les Innocents cemetery in eighteenth-century France.

    Sorrow and Bliss: A Novel by Meg Mason (Amazon, Bookshop)—Winner of the Book of the Year (Fiction) at the British Book Awards—an absorbing novel of a woman and her family.

    Artificial Conditions: The Murderbot Diaries (The Murderbot Diaries, 2) by Martha Wells (Amazon, Bookshop)—USA Today Bestseller—I rarely listen to audiobooks, but for the Murderbot Diaries, I tried the audiobooks, and really enjoyed the experience. I love the main character of these novellas.

    Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries (The Murderbot Diaries, 3) by Martha Wells (Amazon, Bookshop)—ditto

    Exit Strategy: The Murderbot Diaries (The Murderbot Diaries, 4)  by Martha Wells (Amazon, Bookshop)—ditto

    The Absolute Book: A Novel by Elizabeth Knox (Amazon, Bookshop)—Several people told me to read this book. It reminded me a little of Little, Big: Or, The Fairies' Parliament by John Crowley.

    Becoming a Gardener: What Reading and Digging Taught Me About Living by Katie Marron (Amazon, Bookshop)—I have no desire to garden but I love books about gardening. This meditative memoir looks at the power of gardening, with gorgeous illustrations.

    A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch (Amazon, Bookshop)—I'm on a Murdoch kick. They're always worth reading, though this wasn't one of my favorites.

    Also A Poet: Frank O’Hara, My Father, and Me by Ada Calhoun (Amazon, Bookshop)—A fascinating memoir about a complex father-daughter relationship...plus Frank O'Hara.

    The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison (Amazon, Bookshop)—I couldn't wait to read the next book in the Cemeteries of Amalo series.

    The Reason I Jump by Naomi Higashida (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestseller—an interesting memoir from an unusual perspective (after reading it, I learned that there's some controversy about this book).

    The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder (Amazon, Bookshop)—Winner of the Pulitzer Prize—a short and thought-provoking story about life and fate.

    The Great Passion by James Runcie (Amazon, Bookshop)—A historical novel with a compelling narrator—a thirteen-year-old who finds himself in Bach's circle.

    Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life: A Memoir by Delia Ephron (Amazon, Bookshop)—A "Best Memoir of 2022" by Marie Claire, A "Best Memoir of April" by Vanity Fair—Romance, marriage, aging, New York City, bone-marrow transplant, sisters...a terrific memoir.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:00:19 on 2022/06/01 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: May 2022 


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    For four years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    When I read books related to an area I’m researching for a writing project, I carefully read and take notes on the parts that interest me, and skim the parts that don’t. So I may list a book that I’ve partly read and partly skimmed. For me, that still “counts.”

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I track books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read last month, the full list is here.

    May 2022 Reading:

    Smile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl (Amazon, Bookshop)—I love the work of Sarah Ruhl (see below), so couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of this memoir about her experiences with Bell's palsy, a high-risk pregnancy, play-writing

    Parson's Nine by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—On a recent episode of More Happier, I talked about how happy I was to discover Streatfeild's adult fiction. I loved this novel.

    Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism by Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D. (Amazon, Bookshop)—A fascinating memoir about how studying the interactions of gorillas offered a lifeline to the author.

    In the Early Times: A Life Reframed by Tad Friend (Amazon, Bookshop)—A thought-provoking, honest, revealing memoir about family and marriage.

    Signal Fires: A Novel by Dani Shapiro (Amazon, Bookshop)—A gripping novel that I finished in one day. I keep thinking about the characters.

    The Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen (Amazon, Bookshop)—Haunting. A fascinating portrait of a person and a time.

    The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (Amazon, Bookshop)—we'll be talking to the authors in upcoming episode 381 of the Happier podcast, for the Happier Podcast Book Club. Such a delightful book. Behind-the-scenes at the iconic TV comedy The Office, stories of best friendship, Hollywood stories, and more.

    Mothering Sunday by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—more Noel Streatfeild!

    Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, Winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor—a thought-provoking family memoir that was both funny and somber. (Side note: much of it took place in Kansas City, which made me feel a personal connection.)

    The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith (Amazon, Bookshop)—A great novel about romance, grief, family, music—all set on an Alaskan cruise ship.

    Ties by Domenico Starnone (Amazon, Bookshop)—2015 Bridge Prize for Best Novel, Sunday Times and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, Strega Award—the story of a marriage told with an unusual and effective structure. (Side note for Elena Ferrante fans: some argue that Starnone is her husband and that this novel is "in dialogue with" her novel The Days of Abandonment.)

    To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines by Judith Newman (Amazon, Bookshop)—a fascinating memoir about a family, about autism, and about technology.

    Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, a Friendship by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo (Amazon, Bookshop)—Kirkus Best Book of 2018—see above—I loved this collection of letters exchanged between Sarah Ruhl and her student, colleague, and friend Max Ritvo before his early death from cancer.

    The Aosawa Murders by Rick Onda (Amazon, Bookshop)—A gripping story about a crime and the mystery of who committed it, and why.

    In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Amy Bloom (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times Bestseller—A beautiful, thought-provoking memoir about love and death.

    The Book of Boundaries by Melissa Urban (Amazon, Bookshop)—in galley! A practical, helpful book that's also hilarious and a real page-turner, on the question of how to create healthy boundaries.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:09:08 on 2022/05/02 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: April 2022 


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    For four years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads.

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    When I read books related to an area I’m researching for a writing project, I carefully read and take notes on the parts that interest me, and skim the parts that don’t. So I may list a book that I’ve partly read and partly skimmed. For me, that still “counts.”

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I track books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read last month, the full list is here.

    April 2022 Reading:

    The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration by Sarah Everts (Amazon, Bookshop)—An Outside magazine 2021 Science book pick—A fascinating look at a very common aspect of life.

    The Bell Family by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon, Bookshop)—I just realized that Noel Streatfeild has several novels that I've never read, and it's so delightful to plunge in. This children's novel is based on her own childhood. It's very much like A Vicarage Family, below, which is a memoir.

    How to be a Family: The Year I Dragged My Kids Around the World to Find a New Way to Be Together by Dan Kois (Amazon, Bookshop)—I'm a big fan of the podcast Mom and Dad Are Fighting, which was co-hosted for many years by Dan Kois, and I knew that Dan and I would both be at the Iceland Writers Retreat, so I wanted to read his memoir. Funny, thought-provoking.

    Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestseller; I loved this novel; it was the chance to be inside a pure mind.

    In the Land of Pain by Alphonse Daudet (Amazon, Bookshop)—When I interviewed Meghan O'Rourke about her book The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness (Amazon, Bookshop), she suggested this book. Short, haunting account of Daudet's experience of chronic illness and pain.

    Inside Grandad by Peter Dickinson (Amazon)—I'm a huge fan of the work of Peter Dickinson but had somehow missed this novel. A simple, lovely story about a boy's love for his grandfather.

    Thinking 101: How to Reason Better to Live Better by Woo-Kyoung Ahn (Amazon, Bookshop)—A very engaging, readable, and powerful examination of how we can think more clearly.

    My Year Off: Recovering Life After a Stroke by Robert McCrum (Amazon, Bookshop)—A very moving account of the author's experience of having a stroke at a relatively young age.

    First Bite by Bee Wilson (Amazon, Bookshop)—Fortnum & Mason Food Book of the Year 2016—a fascinating examination of why we eat what we eat.

    True Biz: A Novel by Sara Nović (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestseller, Reese's Book Club pick—I read this novel in one day. I'd just binge-watched the reality series Deaf U, and True Biz picks up on many of the same themes related to Deaf culture.

    The Vicarage Family by Noel Streatfeild (Amazon)—Streatfeild writes this memoir in the third-person, which gives it a different atmosphere. If you love the Shoes books, you'll love this.

    You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Amazon, Bookshop)—New York Times bestseller, a Library Journal Best Book of the Year—These essays highlights very serious issues of racism by using humor and sisterly banter.

    Under the Glacier by Halldór Laxness (Amazon, Bookshop)—I wanted to read at least one novel by Laxness before coming to Iceland. This is an extremely odd and interesting novel.

    Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson (Amazon, Bookshop)—A travelogue from a very different time and place. I very much admire the work of Stevenson, and had never read this one.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:18 on 2019/04/30 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: April 2019 


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    For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read in Mach 2019, the full list is here.

    April 2019 Reading:

    The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty -- A friend with similar reading tastes sent this to me as a gift—what a treat! A great book.

    The Book of Delights by Ross Gay -- Wonderful little essays. Elizabeth and I will interview Ross Gay for the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, so stay tuned for that.

    The Beautiful No by Sheri Salata -- And we're also interviewing Sheri Salata! Stay tuned! These are many Secrets of Adulthood that she learned the hard way.

    Chance, Luck, and Destiny by Peter Dickinson -- Yes, more Peter Dickinson. I love thinking about chance, luck, and destiny so couldn't wait to read this book. It's a non-fiction collection of interesting observations of these subjects.

    Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown -- I wrote books called Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK so of course I had to read this book. Wonderful. I knew nothing about Princess Margaret so learned a lot, but more importantly, this account contains deep insight into human nature.

    Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected by Nnedi Okorafor -- I love Okorafor's fiction, and was always curious to learn more about her life, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read this memoir. Short and powerful.

    The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons -- Great book, but it was confusing to read it within a few weeks of "The City of Brass." I kept mixing up the two titles.

    Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett -- I've read this book three times. Love it.

    The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- I've read this book three times. I love it. Why does no one ever talk about Nina Kiriki Hoffman's work? I'm a huge raving super-fan of her books. GO READ NINA KIRIKI HOFFMAN.

    Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney -- I admire this book tremendously. You know how reviews say a book is "finely observed," and you think, "What does that even mean?" As I was reading this book, I literally had the thought, "Gosh, this is finely observed."

    Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver -- The title is "Long Life" and the book is short. Very thought-provoking, with many passages that I copied into my notes (no surprise).

    The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner -- A beautifully written, haunting book. I dog-eared many pages.

    Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen -- I read this book as a child, and suddenly remembered it and felt compelled to get my hands on it. A wonderful book about an Amish family.

    Midnight Fair by William Mayne -- Odd. Interesting. Not quite sure what to make of this book, but I'm glad I read it. I believe I heard about it in Philip Pullman's Daemon Voices.

    Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses by Paula McLain -- I did an event for San Diego's organization for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and during the lunch, someone recommended this memoir. Fascinating. The writer and her two sisters grew up in foster care.

    Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid -- So many people told me to get this book! A great read.

    Comedy Sex God by Pete Holmes -- I love memoirs by comedians, and I love spiritual memoirs, and here is two in one.

    Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs -- My sister Elizabeth told me I had to read this book. An outstanding family memoir.

     
  • feedwordpress 10:00:18 on 2019/04/30 Permalink
    Tags: #GretchenRubinReads, , , , , , ,   

    What I Read This Month: April 2019 


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    For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read in Mach 2019, the full list is here.

    April 2019 Reading:

    The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty -- A friend with similar reading tastes sent this to me as a gift—what a treat! A great book.

    The Book of Delights by Ross Gay -- Wonderful little essays. Elizabeth and I will interview Ross Gay for the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, so stay tuned for that.

    The Beautiful No by Sheri Salata -- And we're also interviewing Sheri Salata! Stay tuned! These are many Secrets of Adulthood that she learned the hard way.

    Chance, Luck, and Destiny by Peter Dickinson -- Yes, more Peter Dickinson. I love thinking about chance, luck, and destiny so couldn't wait to read this book. It's a non-fiction collection of interesting observations of these subjects.

    Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown -- I wrote books called Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill and Forty Ways to Look at JFK so of course I had to read this book. Wonderful. I knew nothing about Princess Margaret so learned a lot, but more importantly, this account contains deep insight into human nature.

    Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected by Nnedi Okorafor -- I love Okorafor's fiction, and was always curious to learn more about her life, so I was thrilled to get the chance to read this memoir. Short and powerful.

    The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons -- Great book, but it was confusing to read it within a few weeks of "The City of Brass." I kept mixing up the two titles.

    Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett -- I've read this book three times. Love it.

    The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- I've read this book three times. I love it. Why does no one ever talk about Nina Kiriki Hoffman's work? I'm a huge raving super-fan of her books. GO READ NINA KIRIKI HOFFMAN.

    Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney -- I admire this book tremendously. You know how reviews say a book is "finely observed," and you think, "What does that even mean?" As I was reading this book, I literally had the thought, "Gosh, this is finely observed."

    Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver -- The title is "Long Life" and the book is short. Very thought-provoking, with many passages that I copied into my notes (no surprise).

    The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner -- A beautifully written, haunting book. I dog-eared many pages.

    Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen -- I read this book as a child, and suddenly remembered it and felt compelled to get my hands on it. A wonderful book about an Amish family.

    Midnight Fair by William Mayne -- Odd. Interesting. Not quite sure what to make of this book, but I'm glad I read it. I believe I heard about it in Philip Pullman's Daemon Voices.

    Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses by Paula McLain -- I did an event for San Diego's organization for Court Appointed Special Advocates, and during the lunch, someone recommended this memoir. Fascinating. The writer and her two sisters grew up in foster care.

    Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid -- So many people told me to get this book! A great read.

    Comedy Sex God by Pete Holmes -- I love memoirs by comedians, and I love spiritual memoirs, and here is two in one.

    Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs -- My sister Elizabeth told me I had to read this book. An outstanding family memoir.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:00:02 on 2019/03/29 Permalink
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    What I Read This Month: March 2019 


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    For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read in February 2019, the full list is here.

    I get a lot of time to read when I travel, and being on my book tour has given me many wonderful hours of reading—especially because in my "19 for 2019" list, I vowed to stop watching HGTV transformation shows in my hotel room. That's freed up a lot of time!

    March 2019 Reading:

    Nobody's Looking at You by Janet Malcolm -- I love Janet Malcolm's work. I'd read several of these essays before, but I loved reading them again.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson -- A frank, bold term for this kind of clutter-clearing! Short and inspiring.

    The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher -- A fascinating way to approach a memoir. Now I want to read everything that M.F.K. Fisher ever wrote. Next stop: How to Cook a Wolf. How can I resist that title?

    The Seventh Raven by Peter Dickinson -- More Peter Dickinson! I loved this book, too. He never disappoints. Very different from his others, but I'm noticing a trend: he often involves characters who are ambassadors or diplomats of some kind. Interesting.

    Heartburn by Nora Ephron -- A re-read. Hilarious, thought-provoking novel based on her own experience with a divorce.

    Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone -- Fascinating. I've become very interested in magicians and theories of magic. Stay tuned.

    The Crystal Tree by Jennie Dorothea Lindquist -- Another re-read. What a wonderful, wonderful book. So cozy. It's the third in a series that's included in my list of 81 Favorite Works of Children's and Young Adult Literature.

    In the Palace of the Khans by Peter Dickinson -- What can I say? More Peter Dickinson. With ambassadors! Plus royal families, secret passageways, ancient customs.

    The Butler Speaks by Charles MacPherson -- Not sure why I picked this up, but it was an interesting look at etiquette.

    The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy -- This memoir has been on my list for a long time. Thought-provoking, page-turning.

    The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey -- I loved this book and can't wait to suggest it to my kidlit reading groups. A fresh and fascinating twist on the classic theme of zombie apocalypse.

    The Only Story by Julian Barnes -- An interesting examination of an unusual relationship, and its reverberations through the life of the narrator.

    Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan -- I got this in galley! I'm a big fan of Ian McEwan, and this didn't disappoint.

    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell -- A re-read. George Orwell is certainly one of my very favorite writers of non-fiction; perhaps my very favorite. So I wanted to re-read this.

     

    Have you heard of The Next Big Idea Club

    If you're looking for non-fiction book recommendations, consider joining The Next Big Idea Club to receive two new books every three months, handpicked by a team of authors and experts like Malcolm Gladwell and Susan Cain. Plus, you'll get access to videos and e-courses. More details here.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:13:59 on 2019/03/01 Permalink
    Tags: #GretchenRubinReads, , , , , ,   

    What I Read This Month: February 2019 


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    For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read in January 2019, the full list is here.

    February 2019 Reading:

    Pride by Ibi Zoboi -- a wonderful re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Bushwick. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that when rich people move into the hood, where it's a little bit broken and a little bit forgotten, the first thing they want to do is clean it up."

    The Chosen Ones by Scarlett Thomas -- This is the second in a YA series by Scarlett Thomas. Now I have to wait for the third book to come out.

    Eva by Peter Dickinson -- How I love Peter Dickinson! A girl is in a terrible accident, and wakes up with her mind implanted in the body of a chimp. Very interesting. Straight sci-fi.

    Earth and Air by Peter Dickinson -- More Dickinson! Short stories on the theme of earth and air. Wonderful. Fantasy.

    Angel Isle by Peter Dickinson -- What can I say? More Dickinson. The sequel to The Ropemaker.

    The Wave in the Mind by Ursula K. Le Guin -- Dickinson got me in the mood for Le Guin. These are various essays.

    Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard -- Another author I love. You're either on this train, or off this train. I'm on it, all the way.

    How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee -- I love essays and kept hearing that I had to read this collection.

    Still Life by Louise Penny -- One of my most bookish friends keeps urging me to read Penny, even thought I don't usually like mysteries, and told me to start with this one. I really enjoyed it.

    How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand -- I skimmed this book. Very intriguing look at buildings, cities, and how time changes a place. Loved the illustrations.

    The Anatomy of Color by Patrick Baty -- I also skimmed this very dense book. It's an extremely comprehensive, authoritative and odd examination of historical issues related to color.

    My Father's Fortune by Michael Frayn -- I love Michael Frayn's work and love memoirs, so had to get this book. A very loving account of a family and a time in history.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson -- how had I not read this book before? What a title.

    What have you read recently that you'd recommend? I'm particularly in the mood for essays and memoirs. Plus as part of my "19 for 2019," I vowed that during my upcoming book tour, I'd spend my time in hotel rooms reading children's/YA novels instead of watching before-and-after HGTV which (for some reason) is what I usually do. So I'd also love some children's/YA recommendations.

    Announcement! We decided to launch the Happier Podcast Book Club. We'll discuss Dani Shapiro's Inheritance on episode 212 (airing March 13). Spoiler alert: it's really, really good.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:00:15 on 2019/02/01 Permalink
    Tags: #GretchenRubinReads, , , , ,   

    What I Read This Month: January 2019 


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    For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read in December 2018, the full list is here. And if you're interested in seeing my year in books, check out this list on Goodreads.

    January 2019 Reading:

    The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai -- many bookish people told me that this is one of their favorite new novels, and I loved it too.

    Wise Child by Monica Furlong -- a terrific children's book with a "witch," an apprentice, a mysterious religion.

    Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders -- many bookish people told me this is one of their favorite recent novels. It was very different from what I expected, very interesting.

    The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin -- if you knew the date you'd die, how would that knowledge affect your life? Haunting question.

    I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott -- I love essays. If you're curious, these essays reveal that Philpott is an Obliger who shows Obliger-rebellion.

    And This is Laura by Ellen Conford -- I bought this book for nostalgic reasons; I remember reading it in middle school. A charming book about a girl who develops the ability to see the future.

    In My Mind's Eye by Jan Morris -- A "thought diary" is a fascinating idea for a structure of a book. I'm a big fan of Morris's work.

    Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver -- I read this book because at an event, someone told me that it changed her life. I can't resist a life-changing book!

    The Elephant in the Room by Tommy Tomlinson -- as someone interested in habit change, I was very interested to read this account of journalist Tomlinson's battle with his weight.

    Apples and Oranges by Marie Brenner -- I met Marie Brenner, and whenever I meet someone who has written a memoir, I run out and read it. This is a fascinating account of a difficult but loving relationship between an adult sister and brother, a subject that interests me greatly but isn't often written about.

    The Blue Hawk by Peter Dickinson -- More Peter Dickinson. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I plan to re-read it quite soon. I may have loved it as much as Tulku.

    Bad Blood by John Carreyrou -- An outstanding account of the crazy story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. A real page-turner. Just about everyone I know has read it, or like my sister Elizabeth, listened to the audio-book. I also just started listening to The Dropout, a 6-part podcast by ABC News correspondent Rebecca Jarvis about this subject.

    The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty -- an absorbing story by the beloved writer Moriarity. When I checked this novel out of the library, the librarian told me how much she'd enjoyed it, too.

    Swimming in a Sea of Death by David Rieff -- A fascinating account by David Rieff, Susan Sontag's son, about the last year of her life and how she faced death. For some reason, I've suddenly become interested in Susan Sontag.

    Hindsight by Peter Dickinson -- More Peter Dickinson. I love his children's literature so much, I decided to read one of his adult books (of which, I'm excited to report, there are many). This crime novel had a very different flavor, but I really enjoyed it as well. Very interesting structure.

    The Golden Name Day by Jennie D. Lindquist -- How I love this book! I've read it many times. It's on my list of my 81 favorites works of children's and young-adult literature. I also love the two books that follow. Cozy, Swedish traditions, apple blossoms.

    What have you read recently that you'd recommend?

    I'm really in the mood for essays, so am particularly on the look-out for suggestions in that category. And did I mention that I'm a fan of Peter Dickinson?

    Announcement! We decided to launch the Happier Podcast Book Club.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 18:20:15 on 2019/01/11 Permalink
    Tags: #GretchenRubinReads, , , , December,   

    What I Read This Month: December 2018 


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    For more than two years now, every Monday morning, I've posted a photo on my Facebook Page of the books I finished during the week, with the tag #GretchenRubinReads

    I get a big kick out of this weekly habit—it’s a way to shine a spotlight on all the terrific books that I’ve read.

    As I write about in my book Better Than Before, for most of my life, my habit was to finish any book that I started. Finally, I realized that this approach meant that I spent time reading books that bored me, and I had less time for books that I truly enjoy. These days, I now put down a book if I don’t feel like finishing it, so I have more time to do my favorite kinds of reading.

    This habit means that if you see a book included in the #GretchenRubinReads photo, you know that I liked it well enough to read to the last page.

    If you’d like more ideas for habits to help you get more reading done, read this post or download my "Reading Better Than Before" worksheet.

    You can also follow me on Goodreads where I've recently started tracking books I’ve read.

    If you want to see what I read in November 2018, the full list is here. And if you're interested in seeing my year in books, check out this list on Goodreads.

    December 2018 Reading:

    The Pleasure Garden by Leon Garfield -- I heard about this book in Philip Pullman's book of essays, Daemon Voices. Very unusual, engaging, odd.

    Normal People by Sally Rooney -- I astonished my friends by getting my hands on this book before it was published in the United States. My library, New York Society Library, managed to get the U.K. version. Engrossing. Now I want to read her first book, Conversations with Friends.

    Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell -- Great, funny essays (I do love essays). Stay tuned for an episode of "A Little Happier" where I talk about Vowell's essay about goth.

    The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson -- HOW HAD I NEVER HEARD ABOUT PETER DICKINSON? I only learned about him from a Pullman essay (see above) and he's already a new favorite author of mine. Brilliant. And he's written so much! This is going to make 2019 a great reading year, I think. Along with Summer of Proust.

    A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos -- First novel in a young-adult series that was a huge hit in France. Terrific, but now I have to wait for the sequels to be translated into English.

    Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr -- A very interesting snapshot of a moment in time, place, and food.

    Queen Victoria's Stalker by Jan Bondeson -- My friend Amanda Foreman gave a lecture in which she mentioned that a boy had hid himself in Buckingham Palace during Queen Victoria's time, and I was so curious about this incidence that I read this book about the boy. A bit random, I know.

    The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban -- This was a choice for one of my children's literature reading groups. A sweet story. I do love Hoban's Frances books more, I must confess.

    Tulku by Peter Dickinson -- More Dickinson. I LOVE this book and keep thinking about it. Even better than The Ropemaker. A very unusual children's book. I'm going to suggest that my children's reading group choose it. Much to discuss. I'm tempted to re-read it already.

    The Hot Young Widows Club by Nora McInerny -- A fascinating consideration of the question: how do you survive grief? It inspired me to listen to her podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

    Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe -- So many people told me that they enjoyed this book, but it seemed like such a thin premise that I resisted it for a long time. I'm very glad I read it. Wonderful portraits, and genuinely funny in its writing.

    Staying Fat for Sara Byrne by Chris Crutcher -- Did I hear about this young-adult book from Pullman, too? Possibly. A great story about a challenging friendship.

    There's a Word for That by Sloane Tanen -- A gripping, hilarious novel about dysfunctional family dynamics set amid Hollywood and London fabulousness. I love a family story.

    What have you read that's been particularly terrific lately? I'm in the mood for essays, so send me any suggestions. Plus of course I am working my way through all of Peter Dickinson.

     
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